Religious Education Handbook

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1 Religious Education Handbook St. Josaphat Religious Education Program ("the Program") is operated under the auspices of the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, a corporation sole, in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The Program does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, or national origin in admission policies, administration of its policies, supplementary programs, or any other program based function. The Aim of catechesis: At St Josaphat we see catechesis as a school of faith. Catechesis is a life long partnership between disciples, who share their faith with each other developing a deep belief woven into the fabric of daily life. This process, described in The General Directory for Catechesis (GDC) as an an initiation and apprenticeship in the entire Christian life is so much more than the passive reception of information; it is the integration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our hearts and minds. Registration: Registration begins in the spring for the school year beginning in the fall of that same year, but is accepted at any time. Class Sessions: Sunday morning 8:15 am to 9:45 am, grades PK-8. Attendance: Attendance is very important to a child s formation of the faith. If a child misses more than 5 times during the course of the year they must repeat the year. Catechesis and Liturgy: Celebrating the liturgy and receiving the sacraments frequently, invite the believer to the source and summit of Catholic life, the Eucharist. That is why we have a very strong expectation that all families enrolled in the Religious Education Program attend Sunday mass weekly. We offer a children s liturgy at the 10:00 mass approximately every three weeks. This liturgy is specifically designed to encourage the participation of children, incorporating the readings from the children s lectionary and prayer texts and homilies adapted for children. The children s choir sings at this mass and children assume many of the liturgical ministries. Children s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) is celebrated at 10:00 mass whenever we do not celebrate a children s liturgy. CLOW is the proclamation of the Word of God designed for children from four to eight years of age. After the opening prayer of the mass the children are called forth by the Presider, and sent, with a blessing to the upper meeting room in the Rectory. A trained minister leads them through the Liturgy of the Word using a three-step process: listening to God speak the readings are proclaimed in language adapted to the needs of the children while still maintaining the integrity of the Word, Ø reflecting on the reign of God after drawing from the children what they heard God say to them, they share questions that invite the children to reflect on what difference God makes in their life, Ø responding to God s Word the children explore what they are going to do now that they have heard God s word. The children return to their families during the preparation of the gifts for the remainder of the mass.

2 Tuition: $330 (one student), $550 (two students), $650 (three or more students) Sacramental Fees: $35.00 First Reconciliation/First Communion (per student) $50.00 Confirmation (per student) The Program is fortunate to have many wonderful volunteers who generously give of their time. The tuition and fees we collect do not cover all of the expenses which include: textbooks, staff salaries and benefits, administrative expenses, sacramental preparation expenses, hospitality, special events, and one-sixth of the cost of heat, electricity and maintenance for the school building. The Religious Education Program is significantly subsidized by the parish. In addition to tuition and fees they pay, we also encourage families to remember to make regular contributions to parish collections which finance so many aspects of the life of our wonderful parish - worship, priests and staff, music, church building maintenance, outreach - as well as the subsidy to the Religious Education Program. Curriculum Overview: Catechists guide the children through a spiraling curriculum, in which students repeat the study of a subject at different grade levels, each time at a higher level of difficulty and in greater depth. The catechetical series we have chosen is We Believe published by Sadlier Religion. The key live action themes repeated in this curriculum are: Ø Pray (private prayer, communal prayer, liturgical prayer) Ø Learn (tradition [doctrine], scripture) Ø Celebrate (sacraments, family and cultural traditions, feasts and holy days) Ø Share (service, prayer, sacraments, family and cultural traditions) Ø Choose (morality, sacraments) Ø Live (prayer, applied morality, service) To view a short video presentation on the program go to: and click on program overview. Grade by grade the curriculum can be viewed through a lens educators refer to as a scope and sequence chart. The We Believe scope and sequence would be: Kindergarten An introduction to the Trinity and to knowing, loving and serving God, who is Creator. Grade 1 Jesus is the Son of God and I as a follower of Jesus am a disciple. Grade 2 The emphasis is on the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Grade 3 The Catholic Church as the community of Jesus is highlighted. Grade 4 Our moral tradition, based on the ten commandments, the beatitudes and the golden rule is stressed. Grade 5 The sacraments are the focus this year. Grade 6 Attention is drawn to salvation history and in particular the idea of covenant

3 Grade 7 The New Testament or the Creed and Confirmation preparation form the nucleus of this year Grade 8 - The New Testament or the Creed and the finalization of Confirmation preparation form the nucleus of this year. Catholic Prayers Emphasized in Each Grade Level Students are expected to know the following prayers at the grade level indicated. Although we work on these prayers in class, your child will only know them well if they are taught at home. Please try to incorporate them into your daily routine. Kindergarten: Sign of the Cross Grade 1: Kindergarten prayer; also Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be Grade 2: Grade One prayers; also, Act of Contrition Grade 3: Grade Two prayers; also, the Nicene Creed Grade 4: Grade Three prayers; also, the Ten Commandments Grade 5: Grade Four prayers; also, the Trinity, the Sacraments Grade 6: Grade Five prayers; also the Beatitudes Grades 7-8: Grade Six prayers; also the Mysteries of the Rosary and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit Religious Education Program Rules The Program seeks to provide an environment that will allow children to learn, experience, and grow as members of our Christian community. A partnership between children, parents and catechists is necessary to achieve this goal. The Code of Behavior encourages children to be accountable for their behavior. They are expected to be courteous to other children and all adults. Every person who chooses to belong to and worship at St. Josaphat has the right to worship in an environment that fosters reverence and respect for God, Church and each other. Code of Behavior: 1. Follow directions the first time they are given. 2. Raise your hand to speak. Do not interrupt others. 3. Keep hands, feet and objects to yourself. 4. Use encouraging words, no put-downs or name-calling. 5. Stay in your assigned areas. 6. Do not abuse the classrooms that we use on Sundays. Stay out of desks and lockers. Do not write on any school property. Consequences of inappropriate behavior: The teachers, supported by the staff of the Program, will discuss the consequences of inappropriate behavior with the children, in general terms. At all times the teachers will attempt to administer discipline with dignity for the child. The following is an outline for parents of what they can expect if it is necessary for the teacher to take action in order to control behavior that is disturbing the class. 1. Two warnings will be given to the child. 2. Parents will be called if a child does not respond to the warnings. 3. If a second call is required, the name will be given to the DRE for follow up.

4 4. After two calls, and intervention by the DRE, parents will be required to accompany their child to Mass and to class. 5. If further action is necessary, parents and child will meet with the pastor to try and discover why the child cannot respect the Code of Behavior. 6. Suspension from the Program is the last resort. Most behavior problems can be solved between the teacher and the parents if there is a spirit of cooperation there that the child can sense. The goal is the same - to create an atmosphere in which learning can take place. Security during Religious Education Program sessions: To best ensure the safety of your children during Religious Education sessions and keep the buildings secure, the parish administration, and Religious Education staff have determined that the school buildings will remain locked with entry monitored. All entrances to the main school building (Belden and Southport) will remain locked on Sunday mornings during class times. Between 8:20 am and 9:55 am Sundays, parents, students, and catechists may always gain entry to the school at the main front door of the school located on Southport. Although these doors will be locked, students, parents, and catechists can ring the doorbell and the front desk monitor can buzz them in. All entrance/exit doors of the school have panic bars so that even though the doors are locked, people may always exit. Ensuring the safety of our children requires the assistance of parent volunteers. Parents (who are not catechists) are asked to consider volunteering to serve as a monitor. Hallways and restrooms are also monitored. In addition classroom doors must be opened from inside the classroom to allow access from the hallways, providing an additional level of security for students. Custody Issues: If parents are divorced or separated, the Program presumes that both parents have access to the children and to the children's records unless one parent can provide evidence that he or she has the sole right. Bulletin/Web Site Photo Usage: From time to time, photos may be taken of Program participants for use in our parish bulletin or Program newsletter. These items are also available on the parish web site. Health and Safety Authorization for Medical Treatment: The Program requires parents to sign an Authorization for Medical Treatment form for each child. This authorizes the Program to obtain medical treatment for a student in an emergency. The Program has injury procedures in place of which any parent/guardian may obtain a copy by calling the Religious Education Office at

5 Medication: Except in extraordinary circumstances that must be approved by the Director of Religious Education (DRE), Program personnel will not maintain, supervise the taking of, or administer medication. Emergency Procedures: Procedures for fire are in place and in accordance with commonly accepted current practices. Students take part in a fire drill during the school year so that they are familiar with emergency exit routes. Inclement Weather: In case of inclement weather, please check with your catechist to see if class has been cancelled. DO NOT CALL THE PARISH OFFICE. Safe Environment Training (Child Lures Program): In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops directed Catholic dioceses around the country to implement several steps which would unify and enhance the existing efforts to protect children and young people from sexual abuse. A directive issued recently from the Archdiocese of Chicago requires parish Religious Education Programs to offer the Child Lures Prevention Program to the children enrolled. The program educates children on safety prevention in the areas of sexual exploitation, abduction, Internet crime, drugs and school violence. The Child Lures program will be offered to St. Josaphat RE students annually on dates to be determined. Parents are asked to attend these sessions with their child. If parents choose NOT to have their children attend and participate in this program, the Archdiocese requires that our office keep on file an acknowledgement that the parent has chosen to opt out or decline their child s participation. It is this Parental Declination which requires your signature. The Parental Declination signature form is completed at the time of registration. (If you should later decide to instead have your child participate in the Child Lures program, your Parental Declination would be discarded.) Statements in this handbook are subject to amendment with or without notice. The Program will attempt to keep you informed of any changes as soon as practical. Religious Education Office 2311 N. Southport Ave. Chicago, IL Office: Fax: Mary Jane Sullivan - Director of Religious Education/Pastoral Associate or her at

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